American Airlines Chairman Steps Down


American Airlines logo | Image by GagliardiPhotography

American Airlines Chairman Doug Parker has announced he is stepping down from his role at the Fort Worth-based company.

Parker, who served as CEO from 2013 until 2022, will be replaced by Boeing’s former CFO and current American Airlines board member Greg Smith on April 30, according to a press release. 

Parker has served as chairman of the board at American Airlines since June 2014, according to Skift. 

Smith joined American’s board in January 2022 and already boasted a long career in the aviation industry. 

During his over three-decade tenure at Boeing, Smith managed the company’s financial activity during some of the most challenging periods in the company’s history. 

For instance, when the pandemic hit and commercial passenger numbers dropped 96% in 2020, when the 737 Max was grounded between March 2019 and November 2020, and when substantial delivery delays affected the rollout of the 787 Dreamliner in 2021.

In a statement, Parker spoke highly of incoming Chairman Smith and American senior executives.

 “Our CEO transition has been flawless thanks to the great work of Robert Isom, his team, and our board. Now is the right time for our chairman transition, and we are fortunate to have Greg Smith in place to assume that role,” Parker said in a press release. 

As for Smith, he accepted his new role at American with optimism about the company’s future.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve as a board member and now as chairman of this iconic company. Due to the leadership and dedication of Doug, Robert, and the entire American team, we are well-positioned to take the airline to the next level of excellence,” said Smith in the release. 

Parker’s career at American Airlines started in 1986 when he began as a financial analyst. He later bounced around the industry, working at Northwest Airlines. 

Just before the September 11 attacks, Parker became the CEO of America West Airlines. Under Parker’s leadership, America West was the first airline to be granted federal loans post-September 11, Simple Flying reported.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, commercial airlines did not recover their passenger numbers seen before the September 11 attacks until March 2004. However, this drop of 33% was nothing compared to the aforementioned decline seen during the pandemic.

America West eventually merged with US Airways in 2005. Parker remained CEO, putting him at the helm of the biggest airline in the world, Simple Flying noted. 

“This appears to be part of American’s planned transition plan. I never expected Mr. Parker to remain on American’s Board for too long. I presume he is satisfied with the performance of the airline’s leadership and with the airline itself,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, told The Dallas Express.

“I suspect every Board Chair prefers to move on when they look at the business and say ‘things are going well,’ and Mr. Parker can say that,” he concluded.

If you enjoyed this article, please support us today!

Formed in 2021, we provide fact-based, non-partisan news. The Dallas Express is a non-profit organization funded by charitable support and advertising.

Please join us on the important journey to make Dallas a better place!

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments